Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalni announced this Friday that he would end his hunger strike after 24 days. The most prominent critic of the Kremlin, who is serving two years and eight months in prison and who adopted the protest measure to demand the visit of specialist doctors of his trust, explained that he has decided to abandon the strike because he has managed to get “civil” doctors They review him and on the advice of his own doctors who, checking the analysis of the opponent submitted by the family, asked him to interrupt the protest measure because his life was in serious danger.
“Doctors I completely trust issued a statement yesterday [jueves] that we have achieved enough for me to end the hunger strike, “Navalni says in an Instagram post.” And to be honest, his words that ‘very soon there will be no one to treat’ … deserve attention, “continues the 44-year-old opponent, who recovered from a near-fatal poisoning suffered last August in Siberia and after the one that the West sees the hand of the Kremlin.
However, not all of the anti-corruption activist’s demands have been met. Navalni still requires the visit of an independent specialist doctor to treat the severe back pain that he has suffered for weeks and the numbness in his arms and legs. “Thanks to the enormous support of good people throughout the country and around the world we have made great progress,” says the opponent on Instagram, the channel he has chosen to communicate with his followers thanks to his team – which uploads the comments that surrenders to his lawyers.
The refusal of the Russian authorities to let the opponent receive his doctors in prison and the treatment of a specialist of his choice had motivated the opposition’s hunger strike and also international criticism of the Kremlin. The European Union had demanded that Russia guarantee Navalni adequate health care and the United States warned Moscow that there would be “consequences” if the opponent died in prison. In addition, dozens of public figures, including five Nobel Laureates in Literature, had joined the claim and urged Russian President Vladimir Putin in an open letter to ensure immediate medical treatment for Navalni.
In recent days, moreover, other people – such as several mothers from an association of victims of the Beslán school massacre, in North Ossetia – had joined the hunger strike of the opposition in solidarity. And that, Navalni has said, has been another reason for leaving her, now that one of her claims has been met. “My heart is full of love and gratitude for you, but I do not want anyone to experience physical suffering because of me,” said the opponent who highlighted “pride and hope” when he learned from his lawyers that thousands of people had left on Wednesday in various cities in Russia to support him, despite increased repression by the authorities.
Navalni was transferred Monday to the hospital ward in a high security prison from the severe penal colony where he is serving a sentence for violating the probation of an old sentence (and considered by the European Court of Human Rights “arbitrary and unjust”) while he was in Germany hospitalized in a coma, first, and receiving treatment to recover from the poisoning in Moscow. On January 17, when he had already been charged, he returned to Moscow from Berlin and was immediately arrested. On Tuesday, when international and internal voices demanding that he receive adequate medical treatment multiplied, the Russian authorities allowed his temporary transfer to a civil hospital and carried out several tests.
While Navalni is imprisoned, the authorities have tightened the siege against her allies and her organization and are trying to strangle her. To the arrests and house arrest measures against the main members of his team, to stifle their voice and keep them away from the streets, the authorities seek to add yet another repressive measure against the Anticorruption Foundation (FBK) of the opposition and its regional campaign headquarters . The Prosecutor’s Office has proposed including them in the list of “extremist organizations”, a designation that would not only make them illegal, but also that their employees and volunteers could face at least large fines and even prison sentences.
The case will be heard next week in a Moscow court with evidence against the FBK declared classified and therefore secret. A conviction against the organization – which has exposed its major corruption scandals of Russia’s political and economic elite – would be the strongest crackdown on an opposition movement in decades.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.